CHECKLISTS

Timothy and Titus – Inconspicuous Leadership

1 Timothy 5 checklistI am a list maker…even in retirement from my secular work. For me, what doesn’t get listed, doesn’t get done. It is also very rewarding for me to check that item off the list when it is accomplished. The list has a progression of priorities. One task cannot happen until another task is completed. And so life goes with my lists guiding my behavior and productivity.

As I journal each morning in my conversational prayer with God, the Father, His Spirit guides me to make another list that helps me to mature and grow in Him. I am convicted of some of those “fruits of the Spirit” that I have not tended to or cultivated, have ignored or left undone. His Holy Spirit redirects my thoughts and helps me form a list of tasks that will help me improve my behavior. “Keep a close check on yourself”, writes Paul to Timothy. For me, that means to make a spiritual checklist that keeps me in close contact with the will and purpose of our Father, God and helps me to grow closer to Him.

We can do nothing of significance without God. I am convinced that He guides us to all things that are good for our growth and aid our learning about Him and how He works. Paul also gives Timothy sound advice about how to treat those whom God has called to lead with character traits with another list of how to lead. This list still applies to us today. The theme of this episode seems to be; Know God, Know Yourself, Know The Message, Know Your Audience. Our deeds, good and bad, will be evident. Be driven by God’s love in us.

1 Timothy 5, The Message

17-18 Give a bonus to leaders who do a good job, especially the ones who work hard at preaching and teaching. Scripture tells us, “Don’t muzzle a working ox” and “A worker deserves his pay.”

19 Don’t listen to a complaint against a leader that isn’t backed up by two or three responsible witnesses.

20 If anyone falls into sin, call that person on the carpet. Those who are inclined that way will know right off they can’t get by with it.

21-23 God and Jesus and angels all back me up in these instructions. Carry them out without favoritism, without taking sides. Don’t appoint people to church leadership positions too hastily. If a person is involved in some serious sins, you don’t want to become an unwitting accomplice. In any event, keep a close check on yourself. And don’t worry too much about what the critics will say. Go ahead and drink a little wine, for instance; it’s good for your digestion, good medicine for what ails you.

24-25 The sins of some people are blatant and march them right into court. The sins of others don’t show up until much later. The same with good deeds. Some you see right off, but none are hidden forever.

1 Timothy 5 check yourselfLEADERSHIP PRINCIPLE #6: Keep a Close Check on Yourself

Leadership Characteristics –

–Fully rely on God. Trust Him with all you are and all you have. We are His. All we have is His.
–Ask God “if there is anything offensive to you, cleanse me.” as the Psalmist prayed.
–Repent with a heart and mind not wanting to return to the old life.
–Look full into the face of Jesus, our Master, Lord and Savior with laser focus so we know what direction to take next.
–“Keep a close check on yourself.” Avoid, “he did it, I can, too” or “my sin is not as bad as his sin” or “everybody’s doing it” mentality.
–Ask God for wisdom, insight and understanding.
–Allow God’s transformation to continue in our lives.
–Ask God to make your lists of to BE and to DO. HE will prioritize your lists in ways you cannot imagine! Where He guides, He provides help all along the journey.
–Do all in a Spirit of love for God and others.
–Care enough to confront others with God’s love and concern for their spiritual well-being and growth.

Warning   The things on our spiritual check list can never be crossed off because we’ll be working on them our whole lives. By listing we are reminding ourselves of what we need to work on to “keep a close check” on our lives. It is only by The Atonement of Jesus Christ can we accomplish anything of eternal significance.

Dear Heavenly Father,
You have convinced me that we must do spiritual “business” with You each day to improve our being in You. Thank you for helping us on this journey. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit that points out things in our behavior that could cause us to crash…before crashing. Thank you for always being with us, guiding and directing, loving and protecting and challenging us to grow and bear Fruit. Continue to transform me. Transform your church. Transform the world through your church.
In Jesus Name, Amen

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LEARNERS OR LOONIES?

Proverbs 12 1Proverbs – Life Skills
 
Our passage today points out the extreme opposite characteristics of learners versus fools or “loonies”. We also learn the outcomes of both. What is a loonie or fool? The definition of a loonie is “someone deranged and possibly dangerous. crazy, nutcase, weirdo.
 
A learner is one who knows they never knows it all. As soon as a learner gets a grasp on some piece of knowledge they admit they have only begun to learn. A learner never ceases to learn for if they stop they know they have ceased to be a learner. A strong, true leader is a learner. A learner prays for wisdom, insight and understanding.
 
HOLY PAUSE
Which one do we follow and admire and want to imitate?
 
Which one are we?
 
What do we fall for in our quest to live skillfully? What do we need to avoid?
 
Proverbs 12 wiseProverbs 12, The Message
 
If You Love Learning
 
If you love learning, you love the discipline that goes with it—how shortsighted to refuse correction!
 
2 A good person basks in the delight of God,
and he wants nothing to do with devious schemers.
 
3 You can’t find firm footing in a swamp,
but life rooted in God stands firm.
 
4 A hearty wife invigorates her husband,
but a frigid woman is cancer in the bones.
 
5 The thinking of principled people makes for justice;
the plots of degenerates corrupt.
 
6 The words of the wicked kill;
the speech of the upright saves.
 
7 Wicked people fall to pieces—there’s nothing to them;
the homes of good people hold together.
 
8 A person who talks sense is honored;
airheads are held in contempt.
 
9 Better to be ordinary and work for a living
than act important and starve in the process.
 
10 Good people are good to their animals;
the “good-hearted” bad people kick and abuse them.
 
11 The one who stays on the job has food on the table;
the witless chase whims and fancies.
 
12 What the wicked construct finally falls into ruin,
while the roots of the righteous give life, and more life.
 
Proverbs 12 15
Wise People Take Advice
13 The gossip of bad people gets them in trouble;
the conversation of good people keeps them out of it.
 
14 Well-spoken words bring satisfaction;
well-done work has its own reward.
 
15 Fools are headstrong and do what they like;
wise people take advice.
 
16 Fools have short fuses and explode all too quickly;
the prudent quietly shrug off insults.
 
Proverbs 12 1817 Truthful witness by a good person clears the air,
but liars lay down a smoke screen of deceit.
 
18 Rash language cuts and maims,
but there is healing in the words of the wise.
 
19 Truth lasts;
lies are here today, gone tomorrow.
 
20 Evil scheming distorts the schemer;
peace-planning brings joy to the planner.
 
Proverbs 12 20
21 No evil can overwhelm a good person,
but the wicked have their hands full of it.
 
22 God can’t stomach liars;
he loves the company of those who keep their word.
 
23 Prudent people don’t flaunt their knowledge;
talkative fools broadcast their silliness.
 
Proverbs 12 2524 The diligent find freedom in their work;
the lazy are oppressed by work.
 
25 Worry weighs us down;
a cheerful word picks us up.
 
26 A good person survives misfortune,
but a wicked life invites disaster.
 
27 A lazy life is an empty life,
but “early to rise” gets the job done.
 
28 Good men and women travel right into life;
sin’s detours take you straight to hell.
 
Proverbs 8 Jesus is wisdomWHAT WE LEARN…
Like Paul writes, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 3:12-14, NIV
 
Proverbs 12 learnersPaul was a learner. He became a true learner when he met Christ on the road to Damacus. Jesus told him what he didn’t know and led him to salvation. It was only then did the know-it-all religious leader become the humble learner who began a loving relationship with Jesus. It was then that Paul began to learn all that Jesus wanted to teach him. Paul passed on this knowledge of Christ to others who were taught to learn as well as to pass this learning on to others. (See also 2 Timothy 2:2)
 
We are thankful for Paul the Learner who taught others to be learners.
 
Proverbs 11 today
HOLY PAUSE
Again, we ask ourselves, are we a learner?
 
Do we think we know so much about God’s Word that we can stop reading and rely on our fading memories of what we think He said to us?
 
A learning stays in the Word, meditates over the Word, prays for wisdom from the Word, because the Word is God and God wants to speak to us through His Word. Daily.
 
Learner or Loonie?
One who ceases to learn is no longer a learner. The word disciple, translated from the original Greek, means “one who learns.”
 
Learning is wisdom. Wisdom is Jesus. Never stop learning.
 
Oh Lord,
We dance with the devil when we cease to learn more about what You want for our lives. We fall for anything evil dishes out by not chewing and meditating on your word that is food for our very souls. I have not attained all the knowledge and wisdom you have to give me. So I press on as I learn more about you. Thank you for consistently teaching me in your ways. Thank you for correcting me and pulling me back to you when I stray. Help me to stay focused on you and keep learning and growing in your ways.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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GOD’S VOICE

Proverbs 11 desigedProverbs – Life Skills
 
When I was led to read a proverb a day, I didn’t imagine how much these words would apply to today’s world situation. I had a clue from previously doing this exercise for learning God’s ways and what He thinks our behavior should be, but the depth and breadth of these words are clearly as relevant today, right now, the day after violence, the months after isolation from a virus, as it was in Solomon’s day as he spoke to his son.
 
The following is what God wants and what makes Him smile. Do we want to look up and see Him smiling as He looks into our hearts, minds and souls? Then here are some life skills that will do just that along with advice on pitfalls of thinking and behaving to avoid…like the plague.
 
Proverbs 11 powerProverbs 11, The Message
Without Good Direction, People Lose Their Way
 
God hates cheating in the marketplace;
he loves it when business is aboveboard.
 
2 The stuck-up fall flat on their faces,
but down-to-earth people stand firm.
 
3 The integrity of the honest keeps them on track;
the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin.
 
Proverbs 11 144 A thick bankroll is no help when life falls apart,
but a principled life can stand up to the worst.
 
5 Moral character makes for smooth traveling;
an evil life is a hard life.
 
6 Good character is the best insurance;
crooks get trapped in their sinful lust.
 
7 When the wicked die, that’s it—
the story’s over, end of hope.
 
8 A good person is saved from much trouble;
a bad person runs straight into it.
 
9 The loose tongue of the godless spreads destruction;
the common sense of the godly preserves them.
 
Proverbs 11 wisdom10 When it goes well for good people, the whole town cheers;
when it goes badly for bad people, the town celebrates.
 
11 When right-living people bless the city, it flourishes;
evil talk turns it into a ghost town in no time.
 
12 Mean-spirited slander is heartless;
quiet discretion accompanies good sense.
 
Proverbs 11 2713 A gadabout gossip can’t be trusted with a secret,
but someone of integrity won’t violate a confidence.
 
14 Without good direction, people lose their way;
the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.
 
15 Whoever makes deals with strangers is sure to get burned;
if you keep a cool head, you’ll avoid rash bargains.
 
16 A woman of gentle grace gets respect,
but men of rough violence grab for loot.
 
A God-Shaped Life
Proverbs 11 kind17 When you’re kind to others, you help yourself;
when you’re cruel to others, you hurt yourself.
 
18 Bad work gets paid with a bad check;
good work gets solid pay.
 
19 Take your stand with God’s loyal community and live,
or chase after phantoms of evil and die.
 
Proverbs 11 treat people well20 God can’t stand deceivers,
but oh how he relishes integrity.
 
21 Count on this: The wicked won’t get off scot-free,
and God’s loyal people will triumph.
 
22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful face on an empty head.
 
23 The desires of good people lead straight to the best,
but wicked ambition ends in angry frustration.
 
Proverbs 11 2224 The world of the generous gets larger and larger;
the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.
 
25 The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed;
those who help others are helped.
 
26 Curses on those who drive a hard bargain!
Blessings on all who play fair and square!
 
27 The one who seeks good finds delight;
the student of evil becomes evil.
 
Proverbs 11 Gods voice28 A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump;
a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.
 
29 Exploit or abuse your family, and end up with a fistful of air;
common sense tells you it’s a stupid way to live.
 
30 A good life is a fruit-bearing tree;
a violent life destroys souls.
 
31 If good people barely make it,
what’s in store for the bad!
 
Proverbs 11 check listHOLY PAUSE
 
What characteristics of God do we see in this proverb?
 
What characteristics would you like for God to develop in you?
 
What does God hate?
 
What does God want?
 
Proverbs 11 differencesWhat happens when we follow God’s voice? What happens when we don’t?
 
We need God in all the details of this life. He is not just a compartment of our lives we visit. He IS life! We seek a relationship with God that is intimate, knowing and growing more in love with Him each day. When we know God we know how to live.
 
Proverbs 11 talk to God
The more we love Him, the more we want to talk with Him. Begin today to speak to God through conversations throughout the day just as you would to your best friend. Prayer is simply conversation with God. It’s not flowery, prepared speeches.
 
Proverbs 11 take timeMeditate on God’s Word. Read it, chew on it, ask God what His words mean for you. Meditation lets God speak to us!
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are God and we are not. We do not want to be You. We only want to hone and develop your character so we can obey your ways wisely. Help us to know You more. Help us to know your ways. We cannot do life without you. Help us to hear your voice above all others. Give us wisdom. Help us to obey quickly in ways that bring you glory and honor…and make you smile…even in the details of this life. Thank you for saving my soul. Help us to love like you love. Heal us. Heal our land.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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SMART OR STUPID?

Proverbs – Life Skills
 
Proverbs 10 17
Our proverb of the day, once again, presents mankind with two choices. One choice leads to wisdom, living life skillfully, with great outcomes. The other choice leads to a harder life, greater consequences to navigate, along with hurting those around us who love us and can’t bear to watch us aggressively march to death. One choice is honesty which leads to life. The other choice is immorality which leads to continual pain and hurt, fear and guilt. Yes, one choice is smart and one choice is, well…stupid.
 
Proverbs 10, The Message
An Honest Life Is Immortal
 
Proverbs 10 lies lead to deathWise son, glad father;
stupid son, sad mother.
 
2 Ill-gotten gain gets you nowhere;
an honest life is immortal.
 
3 God won’t starve an honest soul,
but he frustrates the appetites of the wicked.
 
Proverbs 10 Jesus quote
4 Sloth makes you poor;
diligence brings wealth.
 
5 Make hay while the sun shines—that’s smart;
go fishing during harvest—that’s stupid.
 
6 Blessings accrue on a good and honest life,
but the mouth of the wicked is a dark cave of abuse.
 
Proverbs 10 free7 A good and honest life is a blessed memorial;
a wicked life leaves a rotten stench.
 
8 A wise heart takes orders;
an empty head will come unglued.
 
9 Honesty lives confident and carefree,
but Shifty is sure to be exposed.
 
10 An evasive eye is a sign of trouble ahead,
but an open, face-to-face meeting results in peace.
 
Proverbs 10 beat11 The mouth of a good person is a deep, life-giving well,
but the mouth of the wicked is a dark cave of abuse.
 
12 Hatred starts fights,
but love pulls a quilt over the bickering.
 
13 You’ll find wisdom on the lips of a person of insight,
but the shortsighted needs a slap in the face.
 
14 The wise accumulate knowledge—a true treasure;
know-it-alls talk too much—a sheer waste.
 
Proverbs 10 sometimesThe Road to Life Is a Disciplined Life
15 The wealth of the rich is their bastion;
the poverty of the indigent is their ruin.
 
16 The wage of a good person is exuberant life;
an evil person ends up with nothing but sin.
 
17 The road to life is a disciplined life;
ignore correction and you’re lost for good.
 
18 Liars secretly hoard hatred;
fools openly spread slander.
 
Proverbs 10 1919 The more talk, the less truth;
the wise measure their words.
 
20 The speech of a good person is worth waiting for;
the blabber of the wicked is worthless.
 
21 The talk of a good person is rich fare for many,
but chatterboxes die of an empty heart.
 
Proverbs 10 22Fear-of-God Expands Your Life
22 God’s blessing makes life rich;
nothing we do can improve on God.
 
23 An empty-head thinks mischief is fun,
but a mindful person relishes wisdom.
 
24 The nightmares of the wicked come true;
what the good people desire, they get.
 
Proverbs 10 stand firm
25 When the storm is over, there’s nothing left of the wicked;
good people, firm on their rock foundation, aren’t even fazed.
 
26 A lazy employee will give you nothing but trouble;
it’s vinegar in the mouth, smoke in the eyes.
 
Proverbs 10 King quote
27 The Fear-of-God expands your life;
a wicked life is a puny life.
 
28 The aspirations of good people end in celebration;
the ambitions of bad people crash.
 
Proverbs 10 Gump29 God is solid backing to a well-lived life,
but he calls into question a shabby performance.
 
30 Good people last—they can’t be moved;
the wicked are here today, gone tomorrow.
 
31 A good person’s mouth is a clear fountain of wisdom;
a foul mouth is a stagnant swamp.
 
32 The speech of a good person clears the air;
the words of the wicked pollute it.
 
HOLY PAUSE
Proverbs 10 a good lifeWith all the outcomes of both choices presented clearly, which choice are we following. We need to daily evaluate where we are and who we are following.
 
Who is leading you?
 
What are the outcomes of your current choices?
 
Accepting who Jesus is, believing that He saved us from our own sin, knowing that He rose again to defeat death, do we live like we say we believe?
 
If our choice is Jesus, do we really believe that what we believe is really real?
 
Right now, is my life reflecting what I say I believe?
 
Am I living smart or being stupid?
 
Proverbs 10 SmartGET SMART!
 
Remember the old comedy spy series, “GET SMART”? It was good enough to remake this series I enjoyed as a young adult into a movie later for the next generation. The follies of Maxwell Smart portrayed a series of slapstick humor to make Smart look stupid. Proverbs 10 new SmartBut in the end, Smart got the girl and solved the case, putting the enemy where he belonged…in jail forever.
 
Let’s ask ourselves again…Even if the world thinks we are stupid and foolish, are we living smart by God’s standards by relying on His Holy Spirit to guide us, or living as the world does? Do we stupidly rely on our own selfish desires lead us with others…to death?
 
Proverbs 10 the roadChoose wisely. Live skillfully. The result, according to Jesus is life and more life. This is what is called “abundant, expectant living”! This is love unending, joy unspeakable and full of God’s glory with the precious gift of peace that only Jesus can give. Smart or stupid?
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for caring enough to confront us daily with the wisdom of our choices and pursuits. Thank you Jesus for being our WAY out of troubles, the Truth of saving grace, so that we could have LIFE to the full. Thank you for your holy Presence in our lives, always leading us to what is better than what we think or imagine. Continue to discipline my life with your wise teaching. Then help me to obey quickly by your power and strength.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
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REAL LIFE AND DEATH

Proverbs – Life Skills
 
Proverbs 8 Jesus is wisdomWhen we have Jesus on our minds, in our hearts, with His Holy Spirit filling our souls we realize that the entire inspired work of God’s Word is about Jesus. For the beginning to the end, Jesus is the Alpha and Omega! John clearly reveals Jesus to us when he writes with God-driven inspiration as a personal eye witness;
 
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
John 1:1-5, NIV
 
Proverbs 9 blessingWe must read every word of our Bibles, God’s word to us as a love letter, knowing that it is about the God “who so loves”, Who sent Jesus, His Son to save us, and Who wants a relationship that gives us real life forever.
 
But God wants our love only if we decide to receive His gift of life. We get to choose. These are the two choices expressed in this proverb. Read and then choose. Choose wisely.
Proverbs 9, The Message
Lady Wisdom Gives a Dinner Party
Proverbs 9 11
1-6 Lady Wisdom has built and furnished her home;
it’s supported by seven hewn timbers.
The banquet meal is ready to be served: lamb roasted,
wine poured out, table set with silver and flowers.
Having dismissed her serving maids,
Lady Wisdom goes to town, stands in a prominent place,
and invites everyone within sound of her voice:
Proverbs 9 fork in the road
“Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on?
Come with me, oh come, have dinner with me!
I’ve prepared a wonderful spread—fresh-baked bread,
roast lamb, carefully selected wines.
Leave your impoverished confusion and live!
Walk up the street to a life with meaning.”
 
Proverbs 8, wrong7-12 If you reason with an arrogant cynic, you’ll get slapped in the face;
confront bad behavior and get a kick in the shins.
So don’t waste your time on a scoffer;
all you’ll get for your pains is abuse.
But if you correct those who care about life,
that’s different—they’ll love you for it!
Save your breath for the wise—they’ll be wiser for it;
tell good people what you know—they’ll profit from it.
Proverbs 9 8
Skilled living gets its start in the Fear-of-God,
insight into life from knowing a Holy God.
Proverbs 9 foolishIt’s through me, Lady Wisdom, that your life deepens,
and the years of your life ripen.
Live wisely and wisdom will permeate your life;
mock life and life will mock you.
 
Proverbs 9 sharksMadame Whore Calls Out, Too
13-18 Then there’s this other woman, Madame Whore—
brazen, empty-headed, frivolous.
She sits on the front porch
of her house on Main Street,
And as people walk by minding
their own business, calls out,
“Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on?
Steal off with me, I’ll show you a good time!
No one will ever know—I’ll give you the time of your life.”
But they don’t know about all the skeletons in her closet,
that all her guests end up in hell.
 
Proverbs 9 choose wellLife forever or Hell? Who do we choose to spend eternity? Who do we give our hearts, minds and souls to now?
 
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10, NIV
 
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:6, NLT
 
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8, NIV
 
Proverbs 9 life abundant“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3, NIV
 
David knew God. The father of Solomon taught his son well about the choices before him. We see this teaching about God in this famous, well read psalm;
 
Proverbs 9 TruthPsalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
 
Proverbs 8 fear of the LordYou prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.
 
Two choices. It seems obvious, but choices are muddled in the daily bombardment of this world’s conflicting messages. Pray that God’s voice will be heard each day above all other voices.
 
Choose this day whom you will serve. Choose Life.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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THE WAY, TRUTH AND LIFE IS WISDOM FOUND

Proverbs 8 listenProverbs – Life Skills
 
Jesus was with God at the beginning. This prophetic proverb that describes wisdom and insight is really talking about Jesus. God is wisdom. Jesus is part of God. Jesus is wisdom. Jesus not only saved us by paying our debt of sin, but he taught mankind how to live skillfully and well (wisdom) for the three years he ministered to mankind on earth.
 
This proverb of Solomon’s was written centuries before Jesus came to earth to “seek and to save” the lost. Keep that in mind as we read the attributes of wisdom, the very nature and character of God.
 
Proverbs 8, The Message
Lady Wisdom Calls Out
 
Proverbs 8 81-11 Do you hear Lady Wisdom calling?
Can you hear Madame Insight raising her voice?
She’s taken her stand at First and Main,
at the busiest intersection.
Right in the city square
where the traffic is thickest, she shouts,
“You—I’m talking to all of you,
everyone out here on the streets!
Listen, you idiots—learn good sense!
You blockheads—shape up!
Don’t miss a word of this—I’m telling you how to live well,
Proverbs 8 ChristI’m telling you how to live at your best.
My mouth chews and savors and relishes truth—
I can’t stand the taste of evil!
You’ll only hear true and right words from my mouth;
not one syllable will be twisted or skewed.
You’ll recognize this as true—you with open minds;
truth-ready minds will see it at once.
Proverbs 8 pricelessPrefer my life-disciplines over chasing after money,
and God-knowledge over a lucrative career.
For Wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth;
nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her.
Proverbs 8 truth
12-21 “I am Lady Wisdom, and I live next to Sanity;
Knowledge and Discretion live just down the street.
The Fear-of-God means hating Evil,
whose ways I hate with a passion—
pride and arrogance and crooked talk.
Proverbs 8 heartGood counsel and common sense are my characteristics;
I am both Insight and the Virtue to live it out.
With my help, leaders rule,
and lawmakers legislate fairly;
With my help, governors govern,
along with all in legitimate authority.
I love those who love me;
those who look for me find me.
Wealth and Glory accompany me—
also substantial Honor and a Good Name.
My benefits are worth more than a big salary, even a very big salary;
the returns on me exceed any imaginable bonus.
You can find me on Righteous Road—that’s where I walk—
at the intersection of Justice Avenue,
Handing out life to those who love me,
filling their arms with life—armloads of life!
 
Proverbs 8 wisdom22-31 “God sovereignly made me—the first, the basic—
before he did anything else.
I was brought into being a long time ago,
well before Earth got its start.
I arrived on the scene before Ocean,
yes, even before Springs and Rivers and Lakes.
Before Mountains were sculpted and Hills took shape,
I was already there, newborn;
Long before God stretched out Earth’s Horizons,
and tended to the minute details of Soil and Weather,
And set Sky firmly in place,
I was there.
When he mapped and gave borders to wild Ocean,
built the vast vault of Heaven,
and installed the fountains that fed Ocean,
When he drew a boundary for Sea,
posted a sign that said no trespassing,
And then staked out Earth’s Foundations,
Proverbs 8 rejoiceI was right there with him, making sure everything fit.
Day after day I was there, with my joyful applause,
always enjoying his company,
Delighted with the world of things and creatures,
happily celebrating the human family.
 
Proverbs 8 2732-36 “So, my dear friends, listen carefully;
those who embrace these my ways are most blessed.
Mark a life of discipline and live wisely;
don’t squander your precious life.
Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me,
awake and ready for me each morning,
alert and responsive as I start my day’s work.
When you find me, you find life, real life,
to say nothing of God’s good pleasure.
But if you wrong me, you damage your very soul;
when you reject me, you’re flirting with death.”
 
Proverbs 8 Jesus is wisdomSOUNDS LIKE JESUS? See if you can find scriptures that correlate to the following quotes from today’s passage. I gave you some help.
 
“Don’t miss a word of this—I’m telling you how to live well,
I’m telling you how to live at your best.”
 
Proverbs 8 love
“I love those who love me;
those who look for me find me.”
 
(Seek and you will find me…)
 
“You can find me on Righteous Road—that’s where I walk—
at the intersection of Justice Avenue,
Handing out life to those who love me,
filling their arms with life—armloads of life!”
 
(I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life.–Jesus)
 
“those who embrace these my ways are most blessed.”
 
(See the Beatitudes…Blessed are…)
“When you find me, you find life, real life,
to say nothing of God’s good pleasure.”
 
Proverbs 8 wayWhen we find and follow Jesus, we find wisdom, we find life!
 
Dear Lord,
Thank you for life to the full just in believing and knowing you. Thank you for your wisdom that guides us to more life with gracious living. Thank you for peace because of you living in us. Thank you for dying to save us and living to justify us for life. You are God. You are wisdom. We are not…without You. Continue to teach us and warn us of evil as we draw closer each day in an intimate, mutual loving relationship with you.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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SO JAKE, WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?

Proverbs 7 Jake
Proverbs – Life Skills
 
We all know the famous line from the commercial well, “So Jake from State Farm, what are you wearing?” This attack from a jealous wife at 3am is unwarranted as her husband is trying to make a deal with the insurance company. But one wonders, like the wife, why at 3am? At least, that was my first thought. So what was innocent looked entirely like something else. As women we all feel that the wife was right to guard what was sacred and to investigate what might be an attack on her marriage.
 
Proverbs 7 consumesMarriages come under attack daily, almost hourly! It is up to us to guard our hearts, minds and souls as we protect the sanctity of our vows made in front of God to each other. It is so easy to be swept away into the temptations of this world. Remember, the enemy (the Temptress) as presented in this proverb is always “dressed to kill” with a goal to destroy all relationships that are good in the eyes of God. God is the enemy of The Temptress. He wants all that God deems pure and holy destroyed.
 
Single people are greatly tempted with no one to hold them in check unless they have Christian friends to hold them accountable. (Highly recommended.)
 
Proverbs 7 Lady Wisdom
HOLY PAUSE
Evil stands at the corner of life and death. Which way will you go? Who is attracting you most at this moment in life? Who do you talk about most? Who do you love above all?
 
Finally, what are we wearing? Do we seduce others to evil or are we clothed in a manner that leads others to Jesus?
 
“Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Romans 13:13-14, NIV
 
“And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes,” Galatians 3:27.
 
Proverbs 7 dressed to seduceProverbs 7, The Message
Dressed to Seduce
1-5 Dear friend, do what I tell you;
treasure my careful instructions.
Do what I say and you’ll live well.
My teaching is as precious as your eyesight—guard it!
Write it out on the back of your hands;
etch it on the chambers of your heart.
Talk to Wisdom as to a sister.
Treat Insight as your companion.
They’ll be with you to fend off the Temptress—
that smooth-talking, honey-tongued Seductress.
Proverbs 7 aimless
6-12 As I stood at the window of my house
looking out through the shutters,
Watching the mindless crowd stroll by,
I spotted a young man without any sense
Arriving at the corner of the street where she lived,
then turning up the path to her house.
It was dusk, the evening coming on,
the darkness thickening into night.
Just then, a woman met him—
she’d been lying in wait for him, dressed to seduce him.
Brazen and brash she was,
restless and roaming, never at home,
Walking the streets, loitering in the mall,
hanging out at every corner in town.
 
Proverbs 7 temptress13-20 She threw her arms around him and kissed him,
boldly took his arm and said,
“I’ve got all the makings for a feast—
today I made my offerings, my vows are all paid,
So now I’ve come to find you,
hoping to catch sight of your face—and here you are!
I’ve spread fresh, clean sheets on my bed,
colorful imported linens.
My bed is aromatic with spices
and exotic fragrances.
Come, let’s make love all night,
spend the night in ecstatic lovemaking!
My husband’s not home; he’s away on business,
and he won’t be back for a month.”
 
Proverbs 7 women
21-23 Soon she has him eating out of her hand,
bewitched by her honeyed speech.
Before you know it, he’s trotting behind her,
like a calf led to the butcher shop,
Like a stag lured into ambush
and then shot with an arrow,
Like a bird flying into a net
not knowing that its flying life is over.
 
Proverbs 7 sister24-27 So, friends, listen to me,
take these words of mine most seriously.
Don’t fool around with a woman like that;
don’t even stroll through her neighborhood.
Countless victims come under her spell;
she’s the death of many a poor man.
She runs a halfway house to hell,
fits you out with a shroud and a coffin.
 
EPILOGUE
 
Proverbs 7 romansDon’t be fooled by others who wear masks of hypocrisy and try to lure you into sin with them. Don’t be the one who lures others into sins you enjoy just so you have validation. Here is a final story that helps us to understand what it means to “put on”Jesus as Paul tells along with “clothe” ourselves with Christ.
 
Fredrick Beuchner helps us gain some insight from a story he tells called “The Happy Hypocrite.” It’s a story about a man who was born with an awful facial deformity.
 
He grew up alone and lonely. When reaching adulthood, he decided to move from his town to begin a new life. On his way he discovered a beautiful mask that fit, making him look handsome. At first the mask was uncomfortable and he was afraid that people would find out who he really was, but he continued to wear the mask everyday.
 
In his new hometown, he made many friends and fell in love. But one day a wicked woman from his old home came to his town and discovered this man’s true identity. In front of his friends and fiancé, she forced him to remove his mask. When he removed the mask, it revealed a handsome face. His face had conformed to the mask.
 
Proverbs 7 wordBecoming like Christ is analogous to this. Go ahead and put on Christ. At first it may feel unnatural or uncomfortable, and maybe you may think, “Who am I trying to fool?” But everyday just keep putting on Christ and everyday you will grow to look more like him.
 
Every day we are to “put on” Christ, and when we do, the Holy Spirit works at transforming us to be more and more like Jesus:
 
“Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him,” Colossians 3:10.
 
Have you clothed yourself with Christ?
 
Proverbs 7 two choicesSo Paul, what are you wearing? He tells us in God’s Word…even at 3am!
 
“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
 
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:14-17, NLT
 
Dear Lord and Savior,
Help us by the power of your Holy Spirit in us to clothe ourselves, from the inside out, with all of you in us. Guide our every thought that precedes actions of behavior. Make us holy. Help us to live holy lives for your glory. May we be real authentic representatives of you, dear Jesus. Help us to avoid The Tempter at all costs. Deliver us from evil. Thank you.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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WHAT GOD HATES…BECAUSE HE LOVES US

Proverbs – Life Skills
 
Proverbs 6 seek wisdomIf we are ever confused about what God wants and what His purpose is for our lives, we will find clarity in this proverb of wisdom. We see clearly what behaviors God hates in His created. We find out that living brainlessly, haphazard lives leads to falling for anything evil that comes along.
 
The first section deals with overspending and over borrowing that leads to self imprisonment. “Get out of that mess” we are advised. God will help us find a way out!
 
Proverbs 6 lazyThe next section reminds us to plan your work and work your plan so your family is cared for in the “winters” of life. One of our purposes in life is to find work that sustains us, grows and matures us and satisfies our longing to contribute to our world.
 
Greed, however, leads to cheating, lying, stealing and manipulating to take from others in order to line your own pockets with ill-gotten gains. “Get rich quick” schemes usually is not and leads to more debt. Yeah, this is not God’s way.
 
Proverbs 6 17The wisdom writes tells us plainly the behaviors God hates. When we think about it, we don’t like this in ourselves or others either. When we look closely, these behaviors are the opposite of God’s character, displayed in Jesus, of trust, unconditional love, serving others first, peace, joy, mercy, honesty, with compassionate eyes of grace for all.
 
God is good, perfect and right and will not come close to those who are opposite His character. He loves all, even the sinner, but He draws close to those who believe and live skillfully (wisdom) with willing, sincere hearts, continuously growing and maturing in His characteristics. (See also Galatians 5 for the list of God’s character, the “fruits” of His Holy Spirit.)
 
Finally, run from evil. Evil’s intent is to destroy all relationships. If he succeeds, he has you in his clutches. Succumbing to evil’s temptations leads to death…opposite of abundant living, growing, loving and being loved, trust, faith, hope and the abiding Presence of God.
 
Proverbs 6, The Message
Proverbs 6 listen
Like a Deer from the Hunter
1-5 Dear friend, if you’ve gone into hock with your neighbor
or locked yourself into a deal with a stranger,
If you’ve impulsively promised the shirt off your back
and now find yourself shivering out in the cold,
Friend, don’t waste a minute, get yourself out of that mess.
You’re in that man’s clutches!
Go, put on a long face; act desperate.
Don’t procrastinate—
there’s no time to lose.
Run like a deer from the hunter,
fly like a bird from the trapper!
 
Proverbs 6 strong antA Lesson from the Ant
6-11 You lazy fool, look at an ant.
Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two.
Nobody has to tell it what to do.
All summer it stores up food;
at harvest it stockpiles provisions.
So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
How long before you get out of bed?
A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
poverty your permanent houseguest!
 
Proverbs 6 snares
Always Cooking Up Something Nasty
12-15 Riffraff and rascals
talk out of both sides of their mouths.
They wink at each other, they shuffle their feet,
they cross their fingers behind their backs.
Their perverse minds are always cooking up something nasty,
always stirring up trouble.
Catastrophe is just around the corner for them,
a total smashup, their lives ruined beyond repair.
 
Proverbs 6 what God hates
Seven Things God Hates
16-19 Here are six things God hates,
and one more that he loathes with a passion:
 
eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies,
hands that murder the innocent,
a heart that hatches evil plots,
feet that race down a wicked track,
a mouth that lies under oath,
a troublemaker in the family.
 
Proverbs 6 20
Warning on Adultery
20-23 Good friend, follow your father’s good advice;
don’t wander off from your mother’s teachings.
Wrap yourself in them from head to foot;
wear them like a scarf around your neck.
Wherever you walk, they’ll guide you;
whenever you rest, they’ll guard you;
when you wake up, they’ll tell you what’s next.
For sound advice is a beacon,
good teaching is a light,
moral discipline is a life path.
 
Proverbs 6 coals24-35 They’ll protect you from wanton women,
from the seductive talk of some temptress.
Don’t lustfully fantasize on her beauty,
nor be taken in by her bedroom eyes.
You can buy an hour with a whore for a loaf of bread,
but a wanton woman may well eat you alive.
Can you build a fire in your lap
and not burn your pants?
Can you walk barefoot on hot coals
and not get blisters?
It’s the same when you have sex with your neighbor’s wife:
Proverbs 6 marriageTouch her and you’ll pay for it. No excuses.
Hunger is no excuse
for a thief to steal;
When he’s caught he has to pay it back,
even if he has to put his whole house in hock.
Adultery is a brainless act,
soul-destroying, self-destructive;
Expect a bloody nose, a black eye,
and a reputation ruined for good.
For jealousy detonates rage in a cheated husband;
wild for revenge, he won’t make allowances.
Nothing you say or pay will make it all right;
neither bribes nor reason will satisfy.
 
Proverbs 6 change
ALL THIS TO SAY…Get out of the covers of darkness!
 
“For sound advice is a beacon,
good teaching is a light,
moral discipline is a life path.”
 
Proverbs 6 23Follow the Light.
 
We all need help to run from the temptations of this life. WE HAVE HELP! Jesus left earth with His parting gift of His Holy Spirit who comes to live in us when we believe in Him. His Holy Spirit will confront us, warn us and guide us away from all that is bad for us. Believe Jesus. Listen to Him. Stay close to Him.
 
In Jesus Name, Amen.
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